Steeping: 3 g at 212° in 1 cup for two minutes. . .
This is my first tea of the day so let’s hope it lives up to its name! It’s a rooibos-based blend, but it does have green tea as well so it’s not caffeine-free.
As the tea steeps, I’m watching it and catching a sniff here and there. I’m catching some whiffs of rooibos fragrance and, leaning closer, some honeylike flavor as well (which I at first thought came from honeybush, although I later discovered honeybush does not seem to be in the ingredients list). The liquid is turning dark reddish orange and I notice that a few bits of tea have escaped the mesh as well. (I would recommend using a finer mesh if you don’t prefer having small bits in your tea). It also smells a little bit acidic. The first sip has an interesting hint of flavor that I can’t quite place – citrus maybe? Or perhaps it’s from the rose petal I saw in the tea leaves before steeping. The overall flavor is sweet and not bitter at all or very astringent either; the flavor is welcoming but not too exciting. It doesn’t need any sugar, though, because it’s already so sweet. This tea could be a nice intro to rooibos; it does have some other flavors such as rose petals too, but they’re not too overpowering so you can still taste the rooibos flavor.
It’s good with milk too! Adding milk was actually a very interesting experiment because it ended up bringing out a completely different side of the flavor profile. I’d almost think that I was drinking a totally different kind of tea! That doesn’t happen often (and I do almost always add milk to my tea so I have plenty of experience).
Overall, I’d say this is a great, enjoyable rooibos combination with plenty of sweetness, perhaps a little citrus and/or rose flavor, and definitely no need for sugar. And according to the label it’s also organic and fair trade!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: Cup of Love
A revitalizing blend of herbs, flowers, and Green & Rooibos Teas to give you a boost of energy throughout your day. Its effervescent flavor is smooth without the bitter crash of an energy
drink. It leaves the body feeling clean, refreshed, and renewed for all of life’s adventures.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
As I delved into my tea cabinet recently, I realized I had been stockpiling oolong teas. Where did they all come from?!
Since the season is finally starting to turn, and oolong teas always make me think of spring, it seemed like a good time to try them all.
So I had an Oolong-A-Thon and brewed ten samples from my stores. The numbers below aren’t a “best-of” ranking, but they roughly move from most delicate in flavor to the most potent in flavor. . . . .
- Alishan High Mountain from Cameron Taiwan Premium Loose Leaf – The dry leaf smells sweet and nutty, and this sweet-oat flavor is echoed in the first steep with additional notes of green melon. The second steep is nuttier still more oat than fruit, though a bit of the green flavor lingers on the aftertaste. (See a review from my fellow Sororitea Sister).
- Alishan High Mountain Eco First Pluck from Terrior Tea Merchant – The dry leaf smells like sweet grass and sour fruit. The first steep is not sour at all, but very green and buttery, with more interesting notes like citrus or bok choy coming out on later steepings.
- Ding Dong Oolong from Eco-Cha – Prior to brewing, this tea smells dry and earthy, like hay or dried grass. Brewed, the first steep is roasty and savory, with just a hint of starchy sweetness in the aftertaste. The second steep has nutty, brown rice flavors, but still remains light and drinkable. (See a review from my fellow Sororitea Sister).
- Ding Ding Oolong from Cloud Nine (Spring 2015) – The first steep features fruit notes like plum, grape, and currant. There are almost red wine or acai berry flavors. This potent fruit flavor drops off in the second steep, with more green notes and fewer berries, more like green grapes and white wine, though the brew never got too bitter or dark even with longer steep times.
- Ping Lin Pouchong from Cameron Taiwan Premium Loose Leaf – These long dark tea leaves smelled like caramel or burnt sugar when dry, but their first steep was surprisingly green and floral. The brew turned out to be slightly buttery, with almost-seaweed notes. The second steep wasn’t distinctly different, with similar savory tones and a smooth, buttery aftertaste.
- Jin Xuan Milk Oolong from Teavivre – The first steep of this tea ended up tasting like sour grapes and bright florals, with a hint of roasted nuts and a supremely smooth mouthfeel. The second steep increased the almost-honey flavor and feeling of the tea, and brought forward some either, grassier notes to the brew, and maintained the milky smooth texture.
- Tie Kwan Yin Oolong from Tea Ave – The first steep was surprisingly roasty, with notes like warm toast or freshly baked bread. There were no green or floral flavors, but the starchiness was well-balanced with an herbaceous earthiness. The second steep brought out a stronger roast, and slightly bitter, dry hay notes, though the flavors were still balanced and very drinkable.
- Shui Xian Oolong from Origins Tea – The tightly rolled dark leaves, smelled like hay and earth slightly bitter, though the first steep had a pop of tart currant, quickly buried under strong, roasted almond flavors. This tea had a dry mouthfeel, very nutty and savory, with even a hint of smoke, like an oolong for lapsang-lovers. The second steep brought out even more sweet, starchy, marzipan flavors.
- Alishan Charcoal Fire Heavy Roast from T-Oolong Tea (Spring 2012) – Despite the name the first steep of this tea did have some bright notes like a greener alishan oolong but with a distinct, roasted, malty depth. There are some charcoal notes: mineral and toasted. Both steeps brew up dark in color, the second steep maintains the toasted rice and malt flavors as the first steep, but develops a smoother mouthfeel. (See a review from my fellow Sororitea Sister).
- Gingseng Oolong from Enjoying Tea – I tried this tea last, because it was the only flavored oolong in this grouping. Anything with added flavor was bound to be more potent than just the leaves alone. This tea smells sweet in the dry leaf, and brews sweet and sour with a very strong passionfruit flavor: green and slightly tropical. The second steep is earthier, less sweet and more like wet foliage, still some lingering passionfruit notes, especially on the aftertaste.
And there you have it– the results of my Oolong-A-Thon!
Like black or green teas, there are many variations and flavors to be had from trying a variety of oolong teas. From my point of view, there wasn’t a bad tea in the bunch, and each had its own flavors to suit the changing weather or my variable tea cravings.
There is certainly an oolong out there that will fit your tastes as well. Happy oolong brewing!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Geeky Teas
Green tea, natural ginseng flavor and ginger root.
I. Am. Root.
Learn more about this tea here.
I will admit. . from the beginning, I thought this tea sounded unpleasant. I was fully expecting not to like it just from past experiences with ginseng and ginger root in tea. Those just are not my favorite components so I just had it in my head this wasn’t a tea for me. It sat in my tea stash for a while and the other day, I finally decided it was time to check it out.
Shame on me for judging a tea by its ingredients!
This tea blew me away! It was light, refreshing, soothing, and tasted fantastic! There was a hint of a herbal note to it but really what this tea tasted like was a semi-sweet green tea with a very subtle warming kick of spice. A wonderful way to either start your day, end your day, or an afternoon treat. I was literally sad when I realized the bag was empty. Good thing I have an email in to Geeky Teas about a few teas I’m interested in. Because this one needs to be on the reorder list!
Brewed like a green tea, this tea was just a wonderfully subtle way to enjoy a spiced tea without having an overwhelming amount of spice. I love how the spices were added in carefully without overdoing it yet you still get that nice kick and warmth. A gorgeous take on a slightly grassy yet buttery green tea with a kick. Another wonderful Geeky Teas offering! And who wouldn’t love a tea created for Groot!
Leaf Type: Yerba Mate
Where to Buy: Chi Whole Leaf
A perfect addition to your morning routine, Yerba Mate is beginning to catch on as a extremely healthy substitute to coffee. This tea has a sweet, earthy taste that will keep you coming back for more!
Learn more about this tea here.
The last of five samples from Chi Whole Leaf!
I’ve been on a bit of a Yerba Mate kick these last few weeks, so I’m both very excited to try this blend but also kind of feeling like I’ve overdosed on yerba mate and need to take a break from it for a few weeks. What’s better than a powdered caffeine buzz though? Hell that’s half of why I love matcha so much – so I’m ignoring those feelings of being all yerba-d out, and excitedly trying this!
The dry leaf doesn’t smell anywhere near as fragrant as the other four samples have been; just subtly grassy. My observation thus far is that the blends from Chi Whole Leaf fall on one side of a spectrum, either “very intense” or “surprisingly muted”. I’ve yet to really find a blend offered by them that rides the middle, and if I had to guess I’d wager this is going to be a bit more muted.
Like anticipated, this is pretty mild as far as Yerba Mate tastes; it’s grassy and earthy with a touch of natural sweetness. However, the licorice root and ginseng are definitely stronger – actually, they do a great job of finding a happy medium between tasting mild or robust. The combined sweetness of both begin to creep in at the end of the sip in a typical licorice root fashion. It almost has a honeycomb taste to it. However, if someone dislikes licorice root, ginseng or both they’re really going to be turned off by that taste.
Interestingly, I found that of all five samples I had the biggest issue with the dry powder for this one. It was really, really clumping together but it wasn’t as sludgy at the bottom of the cup as I was drinking it.
Again, I have to really thank Will from Chi Whole Leaf for the samples! I had a really fun time exploring them, and while I definitely didn’t love them all I was surprised by a few which I thought I’d dislike but where really, really good. Namely Floral Herb!
Oh, and just an FYI; right now you can check out the Chi Whole Leaf website and click the “free samples” button there, fill in your address and you can receive a free sampler to try out as well! Since you’re not even paying for shipping it’s definitely worth checking out!
Leaf Type: Green Tea & Yerba Maté
Where to Buy: Fit Life Tea Co.
Ready for liftoff? Increase muscle energy and boost mental agility with an invigorating cup of Organic Metabolic Energy Tea. It’s packed with potent antioxidants and natural caffeine from sustainably grown whole green tea leaves blended with traditional rainforest energy tonic.
Learn more about this tea here.
I’ll be honest and say that I really wasn’t looking forward to trying this Organic Metabolic Energy Tea from Fit Life Tea Company after I read the ingredient list:
Ingredients: Organic Green Tea, Organic Yerba Mate, Organic Eleuthero Root Ginseng, Natural Flavoring and Organic Stevia Leaf.
First of all: Mate and ginseng in one blend? That sounds TOO earthy to me. Then there’s the stevia. I really don’t like it when a tea company feels the need to sweeten a tea for me. I like to decide whether or not the tea should be sweetened and if it does, I like to decide how much and what type of sweetener will sweeten it.
But, I decided to give it a try anyway.
Wow! This is actually really tasty. It’s sweet but not too sweet and even though I was worried about the earthiness, it’s not so earthy at all. It has a very refreshing taste to it. It’s citrus-y and very drinkable. It reminds me a little bit of a very watered down Tang. Yes, the drink the astronauts took to the moon. It doesn’t have the same gritty texture of tang, though. (Fortunately!)
It’s pleasantly sweet with a really enjoyable, fruity flavor. That said, I don’t taste much green tea in this. I also don’t taste much Yerba Mate. Since I love tea, the fact that I found these flavors lacking in this is a little disturbing to me. But not disturbing is that I don’t taste the ginseng either.
To brew this, I hot-brewed the sachet in 8 ounces of 185°F water for 3 minutes. Then I let the tea cool completely before I poured it into my BPA-free drinking bottle from Fit Life Tea and refrigerated it overnight. Before I let it cool, I did take a sip of it to find out if I’d like it better hot or iced.
Just like the Teatox tea from Fit Life, I prefer this tea cold. It has a refreshing taste and the texture is light and smooth. And I even feel like it’s elevated my energy level too!
I don’t know that I’d actually drink this as an actual “tea” because it simply doesn’t taste like tea. But I would drink it as an energy drink which is what seems to be it’s purpose. And since it’s an energy drink that doesn’t rely upon troublesome amounts of sugar to enhance the drinker’s energy, I’d say Energy from Fit Life deserves a thumbs up!